In Considerations on Western Marxism (1976), Perry Anderson proposed a number of theses which have since passed into the general wisdom of the Marxist left. Western Marxism, he argued, sprang essentially from proletarian defeat in the post-Bolshevik era; the predominantly aesthetic and philosophical biases of its thought, in marked contrast to the political and economic preoccupations of classical Marxist theory, reflected a damaging dislocation of historical materialism from a blocked and thwarted working-class movement. For all its undoubted theoretical fertility, Western Marxism remained a largely academic phenomenon, drawing deeply upon idealist philosophical sources and marked by a most untraditional pessimism and melancholia. At the turn of the 1970s, Anderson claimed, this ambivalently creative and crippled heritage was on the wane, as renewed socialist militancy in the advanced capitalist societies appeared to herald the possibility of a Marxism less aloof from political practice.
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